The Visual and The Verse
2020, Fogue Gallery, Seattle WA
A picture paints a thousand words.
Does a poem create a thousand brush strokes?
That is what lifelong friends Scott Gibson (Visual Artist) and Greg Nelson (Poet) are investigating in this exhibit. Can one artist interpret another artist’s work and add or enhance meaning beyond what was the original intent? Can the original artist understand his own work better from someone else’s interpretation?
For this project a poem or a painting was first created independently. That work was then passed to the other artist and a painting or poem was created from the original work. 16 paired paintings and poems were created.
Both Greg and Scott have been excited that the other has brought out nuance and new meanings from their own works that they did not originally understand. Scott observes, “I appreciate and understand my own paintings more now that I see them through Greg’s poetry. His expression helps me understand my own intent that I was not fully aware of when I was creating the work.”
Does seeing the work in pairs help with your enjoyment or understanding of these works? Do you see something entirely different? Would your poem or painting be similar?
A Note From Scott
I locked myself in my room and painted. That's all that I knew to do. I was 17 years old and had wrecked the family car. Creating was the only way I knew to work through my emotions: fear, mortality, elation, anger and confusion. Through painting in the heat of emotion I was able to come to terms with my teenage feelings.
I am fortunate to have had parents that supported me in my artistic work and the piles of found objects and chunks of metal that I brought into the house. After one year of art school I changed to engineering and have had a very creative and rewarding technical career while always creating art as my passion. As an engineer I have helped develop cancer therapy equipment, eye controlled robots, interactive displays for education, and a lot of electronic retail products.
My artwork captures the mystery of emotions, thoughts, and feelings that I see in my mind as rooms of distorted space and color. The prominent body of my work consists of highly structured mixed media paintings and sculptures, with bold colors, textures, and many layers of depth. To capture best what I see in my mind I have pioneered resin painting techniques that feel like something is hidden inside the work, like there is some mystery that I can't quite reach.
My studio often looks more like a workshop as my works require sculptural processes like grinding, cutting, etching and polishing. I create in series of 5 to 20 works following a theme from the details of my life experiences such as, treating diseases in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, leading large groups of tech workers, or just my mundane or crazy life. I love to explore something of myself in my work. I create because I am still living, searching, confused, and normal.
A Note From Greg
Poetry has been been a private and episodic endeavor for nearly four decades. Much of my poetry is a dance between a therapist, a philosopher, a theologian and someone who doesn’t always know exactly what the hell is going on.
My poems would still be safely tucked into private journals if my life long friend had been less persuasive and much less generous with his pours of Scotch. What surprises me most in reading these poems in their entirety is how grace and generosity can slip into our lives at the most unexpected moments.
The poems “As Much as She Knows” and “To See Her as Beautiful” are written about the same person but separated by 35 years. The first poem is true, the second poem is truer. I think that has been the draw of writing poetry, it helps me to pull together and hold many truths that make up this world.